Can it be 30 years since Diana Kennedy's first cookbook was published? Since then, and due largely to her, Americans have learned that Mexican food isn't just burritos and combination plates, but a subtle, highly developed repertoire with roots in European as well as native Mexican cooking. The Essential Cuisines of Mexico
combines in one book Kennedy's first three works, The Cuisines of Mexico
, The Tortilla Book
, and Mexican Regional Cooking
. Updated and revised, and with 30 new recipes to make more than 300 in all, the compilation is instantly the definitive English-language exploration of Mexican cooking.
In 20 chapters--from appetizers to sweets and drinks--the book presents old friends like Pozole de Jalisco and chile con queso, and new delights, including pico de gallo with peaches, Arroz à la Tumbada (rice with seafood), Pollo en Cuiclachoce (chicken in a sauce made with cuitlacoche, the wonderfully exotic corn fungus), snacks from Yucatán cantinas, and a delicious barbecued chicken from Chiapus. The recipe revisions reflect increased ingredient availability and our evolved appreciation of the Mexican palate (Kennedy now requires fresh poblano chilies in her Sopa de Elote, for example, and instructs that they be charred). The sections on masa "fantasies" and tortillas bring together a wide range of these corn-based treats, including Garnachas Yucatecas (delicious filled masa tartlets). With a comprehensive glossary and essays such as "A Weekend Barbecue in Oaxaca," the book reminds us of Kennedy's great contribution to our culinary pleasure, and the recipes that made it possible. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
HThe prolific Kennedy revisits her adopted homeland in The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, a compilation of her first three books (The Cuisines of Mexico, The Tortilla Book and Mexican Regional Cooking). From Nuevo Le"n to the Yucatan, Kennedy strives to retain the authenticity of regional recipes: "I have simplified the recipes when possible, bringing them up to date without losing the spirit of their generation." Chapters reflect an assemblage of courses, including appetizers, corn dough cakes, vegetables, meats, egg dishes, light meals, sauces and relishes, sweet pastries and drinks. The concluding "general information" section provides helpful tips on equipment, chiles, cheeses, spices, herbs and other ingredients indigenous to Mexican cookery. Chapter introductions and detailed anecdotes (e.g., "A Weekend and Barbecue in Oaxaca") offer engaging glimpses of local Mexican life. Recipes will beguile aficionados searching for the "real Mexican deal," with a cornucopia of earthy ingredientsDlike calf's tongue, pig's feet, tripe "of different textures," pork lardDand exotic flavors, such as machaca (dried salted beef), nopoles (cactus paddles) and cuiclacoche (corn fungus). For novices, there are appealing, easy-to-make comfort foods, like Angel Hair Pasta in Tomato Broth and Chiles Con Queso (Chiles with Cheese), while seasoned cooks will appreciate challenging dishes such as Stuffed Chiles in Walnut Sauce and Turkey in Mole Poblana. Vivid prose chronicles the sojourns of Kennedy's curious palate, painting "word pictures" to describe "a Mexico of the past." Her efforts yield yet another classic, one that masterfully documents the rich diversity of Mexico's gastronomic heritage. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.